We asked Musa members and people we interview and work with to recommend books, articles and guides to help in your exploration of Nepal, or for tips on hiking, climbing and thriving in the wilderness. Here’s a good place to start for your for great adventure reading:
1 The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen, 1978. The author’s account of his search for the elusive snow leopard in the Dolpo region of the Tibetan Plateau
2 Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, Wade Davis. An epic account of the history of the first three British expeditions to Mt Everest, tying in each climber’s service in WWI and showing the effects on the English psyche after the war and how it influenced these expeditions. Definitive and exhaustive with the research into the early attempts on the mountain.
3 No Mud, No Lotus, Thick Nhat Hanh, 2017. The Vietnamese monk’s beautiful book is Dr. Jen’s recommendation for on-the-trail reading and “the art of transforming suffering;” very apropos for trekking.
4 The Girl From Kathmandu, Cam Simpson, 2018. A frightening story of human trafficking that leads to the death of twelve Nepali citizens in Iraq in 2004 and the young wife of one of the men who seeks justice for their deaths while the US company who bought them, KBR, uses every loophole to stop her.
5 Touching My Fathers Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest, Jamling Tenzing Norgay, with Broughton Coburn, 2001. Son of the great Tenzing Norgay, Jamling tells the story of his climb with the 1996 IMAX crew to the top of the world. The mixture of his upbringing, Sherpa culture and point of view make this a must-read for visitors.
6 A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, Rebecca Solnit, 2009. An amazing read for anyone in disaster or wilderness medicine about how communities come together and people rise to the occasion in disasters, and how government intervention and the “elite panic” of the few can destroy that community. Shown through the example of multiple disasters is a vision of what society could become, one that is less authoritarian and fearful, but more collaborative and local.
7 Everest: The West Ridge, Tom Hornbeim, 1965. Amazing book detailing Hornbeim and Willie Unsold and their traverse of Mt Everest, one of the most astounding feats in mountaineering. This is great reading, too!
8 Kathmandu, Thomas Bell, 2016. An authoritative history of Nepal while also an up-to-date chronicle of a city, that as Bell says, is a jewel of the art world, a carnival of sexual license, a paradigm of failed democracy, a case study of bungled western intervention and an environmental catastrophe. Bell peels back the layers of the city, literally the very buildings, to see the historic structures underneath. A great opportunity to understand a complicated and fascinating city.
9 High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Other High Places, David Breshears, 2000. An intimate autobiography of the great climber and filmmaker. David Breshears not only pursued the great peaks around the world, but his film-making on Everest, with the 1996 IMAX and 2014’s Everest, makes him one of the great authorities on the mountain. This is a great story told in his words of his pursuit of excellence and quest for self knowledge. This is just one of Breshears’ books. We will feature more in the future.
10 Into Thin Air, Jon Krakaur 1997. Of course, the definitive story of the 1996 climb on the South Col route.